Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Difficult Decision

This weekend, the plan was to meet up with Kyle (Stunedge, the Ky player from the US), and Axel (an Eddie player from Singapore) to team up for the 2 tougeki tournaments this weekend. However, I had an enkai to go to on Friday night first. The enkai was for the PTA so there were lots of parents of the students there in addition to the teachers. Seeing drunken PTA moms flirt with teachers is pretty amusing. I ended up getting convinced into staying all the way till the 3rd party and didnt leave till after 1 am (and the enkai started at 6:30). I knew I would be pretty fucked if I woke up with a hangover in the morning and had to take a 4 hour train ride to Chiba with not much sleep, so I drank one of those anti hangover drinks before I went and it worked like a charm.

I woke up the next day at around 7:15 am and was able to catch a train that left at like around 8:30. When I was about to get to Ueno station, I got a call from Axel saying that he was going to also arrive at Ueno soon and he wanted to meet me there, so I said I would wait for him. After waiting for a little bit I tried to call him to see where he was at, but for some reason when I tried to call the number back it kept giving me error messages. Probly something to do with the fact that its a singapore phone number or something. I waited around for like maybe a half hour or more and I really didnt want to be late to register for the tournament, so I figured it would be best to just keep going. He knew where the tournament was so I figured he would find the place OK on his own. After some more time on the train, I finally arrived at Yachiyodai station in Chiba at about 1:15. I had no idea where exactly the HAP game center was so I called Kyle to see where he was at and if he had an idea of where to go. He said that he checked and that the game center was near the west exit of the station. There were sorta 2 west exits... one was like the southwest exit and the other was the northwest exit and they were seperated by the train tracks. I went out at the northwest exit and started to walk around for a bit. Eventually I found a pachinko place and figured they might be a good place to ask. The guy at the pachinko place told me that there was a game center on the other side of the tracks at a big shopping mall called something ELM. I went to check it out and there WAS a game center on the top floor of the mall... but it wasnt the right game center and it didnt even have Guilty Gear. From there I asked the dude working there if there was another game center and he pointed down the street out the window and said it was a little ways down. I walked that way and saw a small green sign that said GAME. I went inside and it ended up being just some Karaoke place with like 2 cabinets in the lobby heh. After that I headed back to the original area I was looking in and called Kyle back. He said he would be arriving soon but there was only like 15 minutes left before signups were scheduled to end. At this point I still couldnt get a hold of Axel and I figured it was hopeless and we werent even going to get to enter but I kept searching anyway because I still wanted to get there. I walked around on the other side some more and eventually I found it with about 1 minute to spare before signups were over. (It turns out the place was across the street from the Karaoke Game place I was at earlier but my stupid ass just didnt notice it....). I dashed inside and went to the desk to register and I was able to sign our team up right before they were ending signups.

Right after I signed us up, Kyle called me saying he arrived at the station. I left to go get him to show him where the place was. When we got back inside we went over to the are where everyone was crowded around the one single guilty gear cab they had, but despite only having one cab, they had a great viewing area with benches and the cab was hooked up to several monitors for easy viewing (but having one cab still means long wait on casuals). It ended up turning out that Axel was actually there the whole time and arrived way before I did. He said that when he called me earlier, he didnt say he wanted to meet at Ueno. I guess I mis heard him since he has an accent and its sometimes difficult for me to hear it. He had already signed our team up earlier so I was worrying for nothing, but I hadnt heard from him so I had no idea. I told the chick at the counter that we already registered twice and to remove one of the signups.

There were a few really good teams at the tournament. Basara was there with a team (I forgot who he teamed with). Sharon and Inoue teamed up with Karun this time. Kaqn formed a team with Kishitaka and TEN. HH was there as well, and his team was Ririko and... SAVP! And guess what! SAVP has a name! Ok get ready... here it is. SAVP's real name is....................................................................................
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CGB Spend... er, I mean Masutani. Before the tournament started I only got to play one game of casuals against some Slayer player who I lost to. Axel played him as well and lost. Kyle spent most of the time before the tournament playing Arcana Heart 2 vs the CPU for whatever reason. Eventually it was time for the tournament to start. Some noteworthy matches I saw were Kaqn OCVing a team of KY, JA, VE with his HOS, and he didnt lose a single round. There was also this crazy Sol player (who wasnt Kusoru) who made this huge comeback for his team and reverse OCVed some other team. Karun also OCVed a 2 man team of DI and PO. Not long after that, it was time for our match, and we were the 2nd to last match to play for the first round. We had suspected it since we hadnt seen them play yet, and our suspisions were indeed correct... that our first match was to be against HH/Masutani/Ririko. We let Axel go first since Eddie has no bad matchups and its a safe opener. The first match was Axel's ED vs Ririko's BR. Axel won a round and it was a close match but he wasnt able to beat her. Kyle went next because Ky is pretty good against Bridget. Unfortunately Kyle lost as well. Now it was up to me to pick up the slack. I lost the first round and then won the 2nd round. The 3rd round was going well and I managed to bait one of her bursts in the corner. When I went to punish it with standing kick (which would have killed her right there), I accidently got some other move, I think jumping kick or something, and it whiffed. She was then able to pressure me for a while but I blocked well and eventually snuck in a throw after she hit me with a blocked Bridget ass poke move (9p). Up next was me vs Masutani. The first round was very close but I ended up losing. The 2nd round I guess wrong at the start of the match and got knocked down right away and he pretty much just locked me down the entire round. I managed to hit him and didnt get perfected but he dominated the majority of the round and I couldnt recover from my early mistake. I was pretty disapointed that we lost first match but since it was vs such a strong team I tried to not let it really bother me so much and figured we would do better tomorrow. After we lost, we decided to just leave because we wanted to play casuals and the tournament was going to take forever on one cab. (Note: Masutani once again didnt say a single word to me the entire time).

After we left, we headed to Akihabara to play some casuals, and Axel wanted to meet Ogawa. The other guys went right into Club Sega but I went to Hey game center which is like 2 buildings down real fast because the SFIV location test was going on there this weekend and I just wanted to pop in and check it out. There werent any new characters and nothing looked EXTREMELY different since the previous info that I knew about the game. Most of the changes from the last test were character balancing tweaks. There were some new colors for characters and some of the graphics and character models looked a bit more polished. I didnt intend to stick around and wait in line to play, but I just wanted to check it out real fast (I figured id get the info from SRK later and would much rather just practice GG for tomorrow's tournament). After only about 5 minutes, I headed to Club Sega. Unfortunately, Ogawa wasnt there but there were plenty of other various players. While I was playing on one of the cabs, I got an email on my phone. After I won my match, I checked it real fast and it was from HH. He asked me if I would be entering the next Chiba B-5 series tournament which would be in Narita tomorrow. He said that he wanted me to join his team and that it would be himself, Ririko, and me. This came totally out of nowhere and the last thing I was expecting was the team that defeated us in todays tournament to ask me to join them in place of the guy who actually beat me. However, given the way Masutani always operates, im sure he simply just told them that he was gonna team with someone else tomorrow or something. In addition I guess Ririko thought I was good since I beat her, and HH had sorta toyed with the idea of teaming with me in the past. This sounded like a GREAT team and I was pretty excited. BUT.... at the same time, I had already made a promise to Kyle and Axel that I would team with them tomorrow and we would enter the Saitama series B-4 finals at Saitama POPY. So now I was faced with a rough decision.... do I go with the strong team that has a much higher chance of victory... or do I stay good on my word and keep my promise. I felt like leaving those guys would be sorta a douchebag move since they both just arrived in Japan from other countries and seemed like they really wanted to team with me. At the same time I was thinking to myself... "fuck that, play to win!" I pondered this for about 2 hours while I was still playing casuals. During this time, I played Axel several times and he picked about 4 different characters on me but he didnt beat me. He had told me that Singapore only had like 6 guilty gear players in the whole country and no one uses Faust so he doesnt know the matchup at all. I played Kyle like once or twice but he wasnt able to beat me either... though Ky is pretty bad against Faust. After a little while, both Kyle and Axel were playing on 2 cabs next to eachother. While they werent playing a match, I showed them the message I got from HH because I wanted to see how they would react. Both of them just didnt really seem to think much of it based on their reaction. Then they went back to playing. I wanted some advice so I went outside to call Matt (he wasnt gonna come drinking tonight since he was drinking too much the night before.... wuss (just fuckin with you Matt :P)). I explained the situation to Matt and asked him what I should do. I asked him that if I decided to go through with teaming with HH if he would team up with Axel and Kyle instead so that they wouldnt be screwed without a full team. He said that he would be willing to do it but that he didnt really want to since he sorta had plans to do some other stuff tomorrow. He also said that if he was in Kyle and Axel's situation, he would have told me to team with HH, but I already knew that. This is a little different I suppose given the circumstances (Axel is only going to be in Japan till after next weekend). In the end I knew this would have to be my decision alone. Ultimately I decided ditching those guys would be kinda an asshole move and I didnt wanna inconvenience Matt either so I figured it would be a selfish decision. I figured it would be fair to at least give them another chance since they lost to Ririko and shes really good. I grudgingly sent a reply to HH saying that I was very surprised to hear that he wanted to team with me, and that the truth was that I wanted to, but that I would be unable to due to the fact that I had already promised today's team mates that I would team with them again tomorrow at the Saitama Popy tournament. I also asked him who won todays tournament. He replied saying "I see, Karun/Inoue/Sharon won." Shortly after this, it was getting later and people were starting to clear out. Axel and I wanted to go to Shinjuku to play at Vegas before heading out to Current (Axel figured it would be good to stick with me since he doesnt know his way around, even though he doesnt really drink), but Kyle said he has stuff to do so he was gonna go back to his cousin's place where he was staying.

Axel and I headed back to Shinjuku and arrived at Vegas. There were a good ammount of people there and among them were Nakamura, Zero, Komayuki, Nemo, Nanashi, and Kazuki (who had like a 30 win streak when we arrived). I didnt actually get to play against most of the people I mentioned above since some of them were sorta doing more watching than playing and there were lots of other people there. Nakamura told me that he would be entering the Saitama POPY tournament tomorrow with his ussual team. After playing for a little while, it got slow and most people had left, so it was time to go to Current.

It was a busy night at Current and a bunch of the ussual regulars like Antii and a bunch of his Finish friends, Chip, Sawa, and a ton of girls I know that go there often were there. In addition to that, the tables in the back were full of random people I dont know who were there for some sorta wedding party or something. Sushi and Mogi were bartending as ussual. Axel is a nice guy but hes very quiet and shy and pretty much has only gotten drunk like once in his life. He said it was off of some crazy 14% abv beer imported from India that he chugged like really fast and ended up getting sick and throwing up or something so he was weary to drink again after that. I convinced him to get a beer and just drink at a slow pace and he would be fine. I also tried to get him to talk to some people. Throughout the night he made an effort to talk to a few people like Chip and some girls. I had a good time as ussual just getting fucked up and chilling with everyone as I always do. We stayed till 5 am and headed to the ussual manga kissa across from Vegas where I always sleep. This was Axel's first time sleeping at a manga kissa so he was a bit weary about having his stuff get stolen while he was sleeping but I assured him that he had nothing to worry about as I had been sleeping here every weekend for like the past 9 months and have never encountered the slightest bit of a problem doing it.

After about 5 and a half hours of sleep, we woke up and headed for Saitama Popy. I called Kyle and told him to meet us at Omiya station. He said that it might take him slightly longer to get there since he was a bit farther. We had to transfer to a private train line from there and then once we were to arrive in Iwatsuki (the station closest to POPY), the plan was to take a cab since the game center was far as hell from the station and I didnt want to go through that shit again that happened in the "Adventures in the Inaka" blog entree again. Axel and I arrived at the station and waited around for Kyle for a good while. We had time to get some McDonalds and go to the ATM and a bunch of other stuff. While we were waiting for Kyle, several Guilty Gear players passed by us as we were standing around and waved hello to me. Eventually, like one minute after the train we were planning to catch left the station without us, Kyle showed up. We had to wait around for the next train but eventually we arived at Iwatsuki station. We immedietly got in a cab since we were getting close to the time when signups would end. Kyle told the cab driver the address of the arcade and the cab driver ended up getting lost and drove around in circles for a good while. We eventually wound up at the parking lot of a place that we figured was down the street from POPY but we couldnt turn right because of a divider in the road, so Kyle got out to walk down the street a little to see if it was down there. He came back saying he didnt see the place. We drove around a bit more and wound up going in a big circle again and eventually we found the arcade. It was pretty much exactly where Kyle walked up to but he didnt notice it for whatever reason.

When we arrived at the arcade we were able to register. The place was fucking packed! Appearently, Saitama POPY will close down very soon, so many of the players came out to todays tournament in order to play there one last time, as it is a pretty well known arcade with a big history of great tournaments. They fortunately had 5 cabinets going so there was plenty of opportunities to play casuals even with all the people there. Just about every big name team I can think of showed up to this, except for HH's team. I figured that as a result of this, they would end up winning todays tournament for sure. Before the tournament started I got a small win streak and ended up beating Nakamura, ABEGEN, and a few other people. The tournament was capped at 32 teams and there ended up being a full bracket. They left one cabinet for casuals during the tournament and it was run on the other 4 cabs. It didnt take very long for them to call our first match. It was to be against ABEGEN's team, and he was teaming with a Ky and Axl player (but I dont remember their names). We figured that I would be able to beat ABEGEN and the Ky player and that Kyle could beat the AX since he said he knew the matchup. Since Eddie is good vs anyone, we let Axel go first with his ED and would counter pick from there if he lost. They selected their AX player first. So first match was Axel vs Axl (lol). Axel won a round, but and it was pretty close but he unfortunately lost. Kyle went next since he said he could handle Axl (I can sometimes beat good Axl's but I still hate the matchup). Kyle actually came really close. There was one point where Axl whiffed something and Kyle punished him with a weak combo that lead to knock down. Kyle could have actually killed him right here if he just did a stronger combo since he had the bar to do it and could have really done anything he wanted. I guess ill chalk this up to nervousness but in the end, the combo didnt kill him, Axl comes back and kills Kyle. At this point I was feeling dejavu from yesterday all over again. I really didnt want to lose first round again. I played against the Axl fairly well, winning the first round. 2nd round I lose. 3rd round, I was at a huge disadvantage and was way behind. I hit him with a forward HS and did a huge combo on him and was making a nice comeback. At one point I ended up above his head while he was in the corner. I was gonna come down on him with pogo forcebreak but it came out as regular air dust and I got hit by a chain on the way down into bomber loop for the lose. At this point I just felt numb and really upset and just walked away from the cab without saying a word to anyone and just went to go play some casuals. I really was regreting my decision to not team with HH at this moment. As the tournament went on I just didnt really give a crap about paying attention to the matches going on and just wanted to play casuals. It got a little later and I asked emailed HH, asking him who won the tournament in Narita. Much to my surprise, his team didnt win. The winning team was Kuni, Taku, and Chikkusa. I was honestly a bit happy to hear that they lost because if they had won I really would have regretted my decision even more. Though I really cant say if having me on the team would have made a difference or not. HH told me they ended up teaming with Masutani again afterall. I asked him if he would like to form a team with me and Ririko for next weekend but he said that Ririko already made plans with a completely different team and that HH himself wanted to team with some old friends. He claims that he feels his Dizzy is weaker than it was last year and he feels like a liability. He also told me that he likes my Faust and he expects to see good results from me soon. Whether this is all an excuse because he doesnt really wanna team up with me or if he really means it I have no idea, but Ill just take his word for it.

Anyway... I didnt pay much attention to most of the tournament but the finals for the preliminary were between FAB/Nakamura/Shoot vs Komayuki/Pan Shokunin/Keba. I did watch this. Nakamura took out Komayki and Pan and what seemed like was going to be an OCV resulted in a reverse OCV as Keba's ABA went and ended up defeating Nakamura, Shoot, and finally FAB in a close match. It was really hype and everyone was making lots of noise. After the prelim, there was a lot of down time until the actual finals would start. We stayed and played a lot more casuals for a while. Eventually when it did start, i still really just played casuals mostly. I did watch one match where Osaka B took out Komayuki on pogo stance for the entire full 2 rounds. Kyle left slightly before us. It got a little later and Axel and I called a cab and took it back to the station. Since Axel is staying here from Singapore and his friends (they dont play guilty gear) who he was going to stay with arnt coming till Wednesday, I agreed to let him crash at my apartment in Gunma for a few days. We stopped and got some food at Sukiya and then headed out on the train. When we arrived at Takasaki to switch trains, we ran into Amy, one of the other teachers in my town. We talked with her on the way back and eventually arrived in my town and got off. We pretty much just went to sleep after we got back since I had to work early in the morning.

Axel has been at my house since then and we played a lot of casuals. He left this morning. Between that and work being busy I havnt really had much time to type up this entree till now. Next weekend there will be 2 more qualifiers in the Chiba B-5 series with the finals being on Sunday. I am not yet sure who I will be teaming with since I promised Umemura and Shiratori that I would team with them again sometime. I guess ill wait and see what happens....

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